BOX OFFICE Based on the Bible or not, Noah was a big draw for moviegoers this past weekend, dominating the box office with a $43.7 million debut, the fourth highest of 2014. The movie was not only a coup for Paramount, but for title star Russell Crowe and director Darren Aronofsky: Noah is the highest opening ever for a Crowe-led movie and it earned more than Aronofsky's first movie movies put together!
Divergent took second, adding $25.6 million to its total, which nears the $100 million mark. Divergent actually had more staying power than similar YA movies, dropping 53% in week two versus, e.g., The Hunger Games, which dropped 62% in its second week in theaters. Muppets Most Wanted took third with $11.3 million, while Mr. Peabody & Sherman came in fourth with $9 million. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opens this week in the States, opened internationally to an impressive $75.2 million.#AlwaysTrending
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CHRONICLES The 2012 sleeper hit that deconstructed superheroes and propelled director Josh Trank to the big leagues, Chronicle, is finally getting that long-talked-about sequel. According to Deadline, Fox has hired as-yet-unproduced screenwriter Jack Stanley to pen the sequel. The 25-year-old writer is not a complete unknown, having penned two screenplays that made the Black List, the annual survey of unproduced screenplays: Sweetheart, about a female assassin attending her high school reunion that may yet be produced; and Silver, a werewolf thriller that is supposedly still making the rounds in Hollywood.
TOP GUN 2 For nearly 30 years, producer Jerry Bruckheimer has been trying — and failing — to come up with a sequel story worthy of the original Top Gun. Apparently, Tom Cruise also tried to come up with a sequel idea, but failed. Finally, original director Tony Scott came up with a story that had everyone involved excited and the plan was to go into production back in 2012. Then, tragically, Scott died and the movie was shelved. According to Bruckheimer in a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Top Gun 2 is still a "go," just as soon as Cruise's schedule frees him up to shoot the movie. We loved the original, but couldn't think of a single reason to revisit the premise until Bruckheimer spilled the plot: "The concept is, basically, are the pilots obsolete because of drones. Cruise is going to show them that they're not obsolete. They're here to stay."
PASSING THE TORCH Chris Evans will probably forever be associated with the role of Captain America, but the first time he played a superhero on the big screen he was far more goofy and fiery and far less stoic and star spangle-y. Evans has often spoken of his disappointment with the way the original Fantastic Four movies turned out — he almost turned down the Cap role because of them — but he recently admitted to The Daily News that he feels a little "precious over the role" of Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch. Despite this, Evans had nothing but nice things to say about his successor in the role, Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, who will portray the classic Marvel character in Josh Trank's new movie, calling him a "phenomenal" actor.
I couldn't even give that guy any advice if I wanted, that guy is so good. ... It's exciting to see what he's going to do, because I know he's going to reinvent it in a way that I could never have imagined.
Evans went on to say that he feels that he is "connected with" Jordan now because of the character and that it's "a nice feeling."
SIN CITY 2 For those of us who loved the original Sin City and how faithful director Robert Rodriguez was to visionary comic book creator Frank Miller's original comic books, the nine-year wait for the sequel-prequel has been excruciating. We finally got our first look at Sin City: A Dame to Kill For last month when the trailer debuted, and now we have a chance to check out some of the major players in a series of new stills from the movie, including Eva Green as the Dame, Jamie Chung as Miho (replacing Devon Aoki) and Dennis Haysbert as Manute (replacing the late Michael Clarke Duncan).